Friday, May 29, 2009

The Governing Board & the Association's Work
by Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., ACPA President 2009-10

Twenty five years ago I really wasn't all that interested in what the ACPA Executive Council discussed during their meetings. Quite frankly, I was just happy to be employed as a newer professional, meeting new life-long friends, and getting a few presentations to build a resume.

Today I devote an enormous amount of time to what the ACPA Governing Board discusses. You should know that ACPA has come a very long way over the years and the Governing Board very rarely "dabbles" or "micro-manages." The ACPA Governing Board of today is more like the Board of Trustees on many of our campuses. We are very deliberate, strategic, focused, and disciplined. We carefully look at issues, try our best to stay true to process and the ACPA values, and value the membership's opinion. Personally I really enjoy being around such a diverse and dynamic group.

The people on the Governing Board have devoted a lot of personal time to ACPA. In the last two days I probably spent 10 hours working on ACPA items. I talked to the ACPA Executive Director twice and the Convention Chair three times. I swapped emails with dozens of members and even swapped emails with my good colleagues in NASPA. We share and collaborate a lot more than people think and have so much planned together. The Convention Chair (Robin Diana) easily put in a good 10 plus hours responding to ACPA issues as well. These are progressive issues, such as how to improve the convention, lower costs, improve technology, better promote the event, and so much more. It amazes me the devotion our membership has for ACPA and the willingness of individuals to share their time to make this an incredible association.

As the ACPA President I try to respect the time commitments of the Governing Board and other volunteers. I recognize that this Governing Board does not need to be deciding on issues that commission chairs, standing committee chairs, or state/international presidents should be handling. This perspective should be common on your campus. Does your President make departmental decisions? I would hope that directors get to handle departmental issues and most senior administrators allow for decision-making authority to exist at the lowest levels in the organization. While I know this isn't always true, I am trying to make sure our Governing Board stays focused on macro and strategic issues and the many other leaders within this association are afforded the opportunity to lead. As a former supervisor once said to me and her other supervisees, "See the potential and ask." She also said, "Lead. Don't wait to be told." I learned a lot from Kim D. West during my short time at the University of Southern California (1989-90).

As President my time during May and June is preparing for the Summer Leadership Meeting (SLM). This is where the chairs and state/international presidents come together to plan and train. The Governing Board meets FOUR times during this four day period. Naturally we cover a great deal of topics. I am trying to push through some issues in June so we can focus on the more challenging topics in July during SLM. We have only a few face-to-face meetings during the year and that time together is precious.

So what will the Governing Board talk about in June? Here is the running list:

  1. ACPA/NASPA Joint Futures Task Force
  2. ACPA Associate Executive Director Vacancy
  3. ACPA Budget
  4. ACPA Placement & Technology
  5. ACPA/NASPA Collaboration with Professional Competencies
  6. ACPA Anniversary Celebrations
  7. Developments (newsletter) and Editorial Board
  8. ACPA Convention Shell (what fixed events happen at convention)
  9. Corporate Sponsor Benchmarking
  10. Major Awards

What has been happening behind the scenes has been supporting the development and establishment of the International Association of Student Affairs Services (IASAS), taking a critical look at the role of specialty colleges, establishing our veteran services agenda, improving corporate relations, and supporting our many sister associations.

The pace required for the ACPA President TODAY is FAST. Things are real-time. Like our campuses, information and communication is often instant and frequent; and our membership, you, are curious. ACPA has a great group of people serving it in volunteer roles. I believe in each one of them and value their commitment to this association, your association, my acpa. Weeeee!

Follow the ACPA President on Twitter (ACPAPREZ) for the most up to date information.

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